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My KU experiment with  The Cartel, The Apprentice Volume 1 ended yesterday.


There is no question that the per 'book' royalty is substantially better than on the $1.99 that seems to be price point needed to encourage readers to give it a try.


The loss of sales from other platforms was roughly offset by what appears to be increased 'book' sales on Amazon, but the KU experiment didn't increase sales.  Although the actual number of 'new readers' is a guess due to the way KU reads are tracked and reported.


As we know, KU's page counting algorithms are limited.  Claims that KU can 'tell if pages have been read rather than skipped' have been debunked.   So, I have know way of knowing: 1) if the page counts reflect complete reads or  a high incidence of abandonment; or 2) if readers have finished, but reset to the prologue or character list before returning. 


To be fair to Amazon's KU program, I have not fully exploited all the marketing and advertising programs available. So it is possible, more 'sales' of the Cartel could have been achieved.  Somehow, there is never enough time to market as well as write.


BUT - this is a big one -  sales of the next books in the series are not as strong as when readers 'buy' The Cartel.  Is that because KU readers simply move onto the next 'free read' - of which there are thousands?  Is that the 'sales' are people more willing to try an unknown author but also quicker to abandon and move on to the next 'freebie'?  I have no way of knowing.


Ultimately, what I hope for with each sale of The Cartel is an enthusiastic reader who will go onto buy and read Bright Star, Transgressions, and all the other books to come.


So, for now,  KU and The Cartel are parting ways.  It will remain available on Amazon at the bargain price of US$1.99 and will reappear at Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Jason Swearingin | June 14, 2016 at 05:06 PM EDT

I have been reading a lot of KU lately and I have not finished them all so my opinion is the KU allows folks to try the book but if not hooked enough they walk away with out being upset at spending money on something which does not lead to other book sales. I think buying a book that you complete will definitely make you (usually want to complete the series) by the next ones to find out the ending. The thing with Amazon lately is the recommendation algorithms I have seen the same dang books over and over again especially in NON KU offers. One of the reasons I like the KU is because it recommends stuff out of the norm and not so mainstream. I think why don't these recommendations change more often, if I did not by them the first 10 times I saw them then why would I by them now? The need to work on the algorithms and get more creative with the reccomendations. Maybe more like Netflix.

2. EG | June 15, 2016 at 08:41 AM EDT

Hi Jason, Thanks for chiming in. I'm okay with folks trying and simply not liking The Cartel. At least they crack the cover *so to speak*. I've always thought the 'preview' feature on e-books is brilliant.

I do think that given the world-building in the Cartel that I do better with a 99c sale. Something about spending even a small amount seems to keep a person reading. Most people who finish the Cartel like it, but I have a number of reviews where readers commented the first 20-30% was a lot of world building.

No idea why Amazon keeps recommending the same title - but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it has to do with advertising $.


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